Well, the pre-renovation budget (in which we had unicorns and sparkly dreams) allowed for marble countertops. Since we wanted this kitchen to be a crowd-pleaser, we thought we would do a light marble slab. The size of the countertop is not large (around 6 feet by 2 feet) so its really not THAT bad a budget hit.
Needless to say, the budget for the countertop was cut to basically $0 so that's when we decided to get creative (aka Cheap + Cheerful!) and resort to checking out IKEA butcher block countertops.
NUMERAR in Oak
You can buy them in various sizes and finishes. We chose Oak, a nice medium shade with a pretty traditional edge. I found this countertop just now and kinda wish we had done this one, which I definitely don't remember seeing at IKEA, possibly because IKEA is so disorienting:
Anyway, we had it cut to fit and installed in place of the white plastic business that was formerly there:
So far, I really like it. Its not that easy to keep clean though, and I have already make cut marks into it accidentally with knives. You can make it more personal by having a custom edge cut into the sides although its not my style (a bit too traditional, I think) but it would be a good way to set yourself apart from every other IKEA butcher block:
Image via Apartment Therapy
Other blogs I have read, including House Tweaking recommend a mineral oil treatment to keep it glossy and clean. That seems a little too much work for me personally, because I have a very demanding kitty and there's white wine to drink, y'all.
Have you ever used IKEA in a pinch? What were your results?